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Ship Registry:Nigeria to begin Online ship registration

  As NIMASA unveils High-Tech
Registration Certificate
  Stakeholders pledge support for automation

L-R: Former President, Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Mr Greg Ogbeifun; Executive Director, Operations, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Engr. Rotimi Fashakin; Chairperson, Ship Owners Forum, Mrs Margaret Orakwusi; Director General, NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside and Executive Director, Finance & Administration, NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh; display samples of the new high-tech ship registration certificates by NIMASA during an Interactive Session on the automation of the Nigerian Ship Registry with Ship Owners  in Lagos, recently.

In a bid to have a world-class
Ship Registry and enhance the Ease of Doing Business in the maritime sector,
the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has concluded
plans to set up an automated ship registration process through online and electronic
procedure. 

The Director-General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, stated this
recently in Lagos at an interactive session with shipowners.

L-R: MD/CEO Elshcon Nig. Ltd, Dr Emi Mebere; Vice Chairman CoT Leasing Plc, Mr Emeka Ndu; Member, Governing Council Nigerian Content Development & Monitoring Board, Mr. Mina Oforiokuma; Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside; Engr. Emmanuel Ilori; and the 1ST Vice President Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN) Mr Jonah Williams; during an Interactive Session on the automation of the Nigerian Ship Registry with Ship Owners  in Lagos, recently.

The forum discussed how to
improve the quality of the Nigerian Ship Register, with stakeholders promising
to support the initiative. They specifically pledged to fund the ship
registration automation process.

Dakuku told the stakeholders that
the Agency had acquired software licence for the automation of the Nigerian
Ship Registry, which is rated by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO)
as the second largest in Africa, by tonnage, after Liberia, and 46th in the
world. He said automation was the only way to boost the worth of the registry
and quicken business processes.

According to the DG, “Our principal
aim is to achieve online electronic registration, accept electronic copies of
documents and issue electronic certificates. 

“Our goal as a Maritime Safety
Administration is to create a world class Ship Registry, which will be
attractive to shipowners with the aim of maintaining the influence of Nigeria
in evolving international commercial and regulatory environment for
shipping.”

Dakuku disclosed that in 2018 and
2019, the Nigerian registry attracted two high index capacity vessels – Egina
FPSO and MT Ultimate. He said NIMASA was confident that a lot more could be
done to assist Nigerians in acquiring vessels, hence its intensified effort to
ensure the disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF). 

He stated
that the Agency was in partnership with the Nigerian Content Development and
Monitoring Board (NCDMB) to drive capacity in the maritime industry.

The Director-General also
highlighted the effort the Agency had made to secure an internationally
competitive ship registry for the country, which include auditing the register
of Nigerian vessels, redesigning and producing new ship registry certificates, and
automation of the ship registry.

 Others are upgrade of the ship registry filing
facility, review of ship registration guidelines, and ISO 9001: 2015
Certification. 

Dakuku noted that some of the
biggest ship registries in the world, such as the UK Ship Register, currently
maintained a second or international register to attract tonnage, while using
the closed register to develop indigenous capacity. 

To that end, he said the
Agency was considering establishing a second register to help grow Nigerian
fleet and enhance the country’s role in international commercial trade.

The DG called on stakeholders to
assist the Agency’s new computerisation initiative. “Our esteemed stakeholders,
whilst keeping our eyes firmly fixed on the objective of building a world class
Ship Registry, we hope to rely on your guidance, experience, industry know-how
and cooperation to endow the desperately needed credence and international
respect for the Nigerian Flag,” he stated.

In his presentation on background
and development of ship registration, a governing council member of the
Nigerian Content Development & Monitoring Board (NCDMB) Mr. Mina Oforiokuma
noted that technically, Nigeria’s registry was the largest in Africa.  Oforiokuma said this was based on the fact that
Liberia operated an open registry, domiciled in the United States of America.
More so, most of the vessels registered in Nigeria trade in Africa, he
stated. 
  
Speaking also, the Chairman of
the Ship Registry Committee, Engr. Emmanuel Ilori, urged NIMASA to set clear
timelines for the administrative process of ship registration and put in place
precise change in flag instructions.

Ilori advised the Agency to
ensure that qualified tonnage measures were employed to serve in the safety
department. He commended NIMASA’s drive to enshrine full automation of all ship
registration processes, revealing that it is one of the recommendations of the
Ship Registry Review Committee.

The high-point of the event was
the unveiling of the new high-tech ship registration certificates, which comes
in various categories namely; Certificate of Nigeria Registry; Certificate of
Nigeria Registry (provisional); Nigeria Certificate of Registry (Fishing
Vessel); Nigeria Certificate of Registry (Fishing Vessel Provisional). Others
are Nigeria Certificate of Registry (Bare Boar Charter Vessel) and Certificate
of Nigeria Ship Registry (Cabotage).

The present management of NIMASA
began the drive to restructure the Nigerian Ship Registry by inaugurating a
Committee on the Review of the Activities and Operations of the Nigerian Ship
Registration Office on February 27, 2018. 

The committee headed by Engr.
Emmanuel Ilori was given the task to examine the status of the Ship Registry in
line with international best standards and recommend requisite improvement
measures.

 The committee submitted its report in 2019
with far reaching recommendations grouped into short, medium and long term
measures. 

The submission of the report was followed by the inauguration of an
Implementation Monitoring Committee on August 20, 2019 to chart a course for
the implementation of the recommendations.

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